Joe Dunne Solo Exhibition - Ashford Gallery RHA 2001
Exhibition Review - Aidan Dunne - The Irish Times, March 13th 2001
"...Dunne has been from the first a meticulous and technically accomplished
painter and draughtsman. But there has always been a hint of something more,
the feeling that he actually had something to say, rather then being an efficient
academic technician pure and simple. This intimation has, admittedly,
been muted, and Dunne has consistently described a suburban world that could
easily, if unkindly, be described as bland. It is probably true to say that the fact
that he is a conservative artist in terms of his style and concerns has also militated
against his being taken seriously.
His recent work sees him for the first time explicitly explore, rather than passively
describe, the suburban world, an exploration that leads him into abstraction,
albeit abstraction firmly rooted in the spaces, planes, light and atmosphere of
his surroundings. He remarks in a catalogue note that he feels the pictures are
successful if they "touch on . . . some sense of mystery", which is exactly right,
and earmarks the quality that probably counts most in the end. Strangely enough,
his foray into abstraction seems to have consolidated his prowess as a realist
painter, and a work like Blue Dress is a beautifully poised, classical, full-figure
portrait, understated but quietly strong, a very good painting on anyone's terms.
Elsewhere, he is much preoccupied with taking various permutations of form and
incorporating them in nicely poised compositions of surface pattern, always bringing
things up towards the picture plane. He does this with still life arrangements à la
Charles Brady, rural landscapes, and what might be called suburban landscapes.
The most impressive aspect of all this is that every square centimetre of each painting
has been considered, mulled over and addressed until it works. It must stand
as a landmark show for him."
© Irish Times. Reproduced by kind permission of www.irishtimes.com